Monday, July 27, 2015

Six Roses

Sunday evening (7/26) I officiated Leah and Sebastian's wedding ceremony at La Caille in Sandy, Utah. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Lifelong learning means cultivating the ability to live with ambiguity, cherishing the willingness to question, and treasuring the courage to change your mind, when warranted.

Leah gets this, and in fact ties this type of thinking to her Jewish identity: "My Jewish identity," she says, "has taught me to ask “why” a lot, and question matters in my life, not just to believe in things I am told, but to find the reasoning behind that belief. Judaism has taught me that I can’t follow people or matters blindly, and when I work with within a system, I believe it is extremely important to have your own moral compass. My Jewish identity taught me that it’s important to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do... It's okay to see the ambiguity in life, and life’s questions that arise and to sometimes debate and not be sure about the answer to every question."

Sebastian too has followed this type of journey in seeking out his spiritual path: "I mainly asked myself" he writes, "what were the needs for my spirituality and I came to the conclusion that no one religion could answer my needs. What I found most important were broader concepts which transcend any one religion, and which are common values and morals shared amongst all people of good will."

It is this flexibility, this willingness to live with ambiguity, the openness to changing one's mind, that allowed Leah and Sebastian to come together. Leah says: "I always thought because I was so picky, fiercely independent, and my standards were so high, that I wouldn’t get married until I was at least in my late thirties, and I had found peace with that realization, but that’s because I didn’t know a man like Sebastian existed. "Sebastian echoes and augments this, "I was never in a rush to marry and I didn’t really have a timeline per say to getting married, it was always about finding the right person." So, even though Leah says that first she said, "I told him that he seemed like a nice guy, but that I was done with the dating scene," she was willing to question herself and change her mind, when the right guy arrived.

The interesting and somewhat ironic fact about a willingness to question, change and live with ambiguity, is that it actually can clarify and cement the few really important things at the core of your being. This is perhaps why Leah's mom told her, “I know you’ll be okay once I pass away because you’re a good person with a good Jewish heart." Sebastian echoed this thought on his first date with Leah. Listen to her tell it: "He bought me a bouquet of roses. When he handed me the bouquet of flowers, he asked me how many there were and what I thought the significance of that number was. I saw that there were six roses and I had no idea what the significance was of the number six. He told me he bought me six roses because the Star of David has six points on it. He wanted to tell me that he loved me and who I was. He loved and accepted my Jewish heart."

When we recognize life's many ambiguities, and the few ideas that form our core, it clarifies another important idea. It clarifies, in Sebastian's words, the imperative to, "Seize the moment and seize the opportunity... I did that with Leah because I love her with all my heart." Leah underlines his words beautifully: "Because I understand the fragility of this life, it has made me realize that I love Sebastian with all my heart and he loves me all of his heart... When you have that type of relationship and connection with someone, it is only right to start your lives and journey together as soon as possible as husband and wife."

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